I don't know why I am so lacking in historical knowledge. I blame my boring history teachers and not my tendency to talk in class or the need to write notes to friends. All I knew about Napoleon was he stuck in hand in his jacket, was married to Josephine, ruled France, and was short. I guess I knew that we all must face our Waterloo, but I didn't know anything more about that then it had something to do with Napoleon. Oh yes, I also knew Napoleon was sentenced to Elba where I thought he stayed until he died.
I love books that help fill in the gaps in my knowledge and The Second Empress did that in a very enjoyable way. I felt compassion for Marie-Louise being chosen by Napoleon to replace Josephine who was the love of his life but couldn't provide him with a son so she was set aside. And rumors of Napoleon's ambition and selfishness was well known in the Austria, so Marie-Louise was even more apprehensive to marry him. For the good of her father and her country she agreed to marry Napoleon and leave the man and country she loved for France.
As the second empress of France, Marie-Louise learned of the strange relationship between Napoleon and his sister Pauline. The greed of the Bonapartes was amazing. I'd like to know more about how they grew and what filled their souls with such avarice and hunger for power. Napoleon must have been very charismatic to come back from Elba and gather such forces to reclaim the throne after he was so hated. I want to study more about him and his wars with Russia, England, and Austria.
My favorite of Michelle Moran's is Madame Tousand, but I loved following up that tale of the French Revolution with the story of Napoleon's rise to power. It amazes me that the French overthrew the the aristocrats and then allowed Napoleon to become emperor and allowed the aristocratic life flourish again. We are short-sighted people, all of us, I guess. We'll reach for the first hope, and the quickest, to rescue us from our troubles.
My best wishes to Michelle on her upcoming marriage. I hope marriage doesn't slow your writing, because I look forward to reading many more of your books.
** I received a free copy of The Second Empress from Michelle Moran and Random House in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.